Downton Abbey airs in the UK in September, but US viewers have to wait until January 2014 to see it. PBS President Paula Kerger talks about the broadcast delay.
The gap in airing times has created great controversy within the show’s growing US fan base. Case and point, last Season ended with the death of main character Matthew Crawley, played by Dan Stevens, and with social media, it was impossible not to come across the headline.
The episode aired in the UK on Christmas Day and it wasn’t until February that it was seen in the US, but by that time many already knew what had happened to the beloved character.
Kerger told reporters at Tuesday’s Television Critics Association press tour that the current model of airing Downton will continue for the foreseeable future.
The PBS head said that they have reviewed the issue of spoilers and how to best handle it. Kerger added that they look carefully at the competition in the fall schedule with that in mind.
The network also looks at how Downton Abbey gets promotion and buzz about it and that word of mouth has actually benefited PBS, she commented.
“We don’t want to mess with that if it’s working so well.”
Kerger says the network looks at each program differently. With Call The Midwife, another successful miniseries, PBS aired a December episode a few weeks after the UK did and according to her it didn’t do so well.
Of the controversy regarding the way Downton’s Season 3 ended, Kerger says that “it is what it is” and it opens opportunities for the show to grow.
Obviously Ms. Kerger is not too concerned about how fans feel and she said jokingly that if people have complaints they should direct them to series writer Julian Fellowes.
What do you think of PBS President’s comments regarding Downton Abbey ending of Season 3?